Boosting golfer participation at your course

Boosting golfer participation at your course

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The National Golf Foundation (NGF) released its annual golfer participation report for the year 2018 earlier this month, and the results are positive! Numbers show that there has been an increase in playing golf and engaging with it. Although these are encouraging signs, many courses are still experiencing a downward trend in this area. 

For a while, one of the golf industry’s key challenges has been to increase playing opportunities for people who have expressed some sort of interest in the game and turning them into regular golfers. Data such as this can help identify key areas of interest that can be used as a gateway to boost participation at golf courses.

Here are some interesting 2018 stats from the NGF report:

  • The number of people aged 6-and-up who played at least one round of golf on a golf course increased from 23.8 million in 2017 to 24.2 million in 2018
  • An estimated 2.6 million beginners played on a golf course for the first time
  • Rounds played declined 4.8% year-over-year to an estimated 434 million rounds
  • The average golfer is 46 years old and has a household income of $100 000

The Opportunity

While there is an increase in participation, taking a deeper look at the data, the NGF found that there are some 14.7 million non-golfers who consider themselves interested in playing the game, of whom half this number are former golfers who haven’t played a round over the past year. The other half is made up of people who have never played the game before on a golf course. The key for the industry is to obviously turn these “interested golfers” into regular golfers.

So what are some of the solutions that golf facilities can employ to attract and boost golfer participation?

The issue of time spent playing golf on a course has been one of the major detracting factors facing golf in recent times. Most people do not have the time to spend more than five hours on a course due to various other commitments. Research shows that a time-sensitive younger generation tends to spend a lot more time playing golf away from the course at Topgolf and standalone driving range-type facilities (23 million people – NGF). 

Pace of play management then becomes an increasingly critical factor to draw more people to play on the course. 

A 2016 USGA survey found that 74% of golfers identified pace of play as a crucial enjoyment factor to their round of golf. This has led many courses to adopt Tagmarshal’s golf management software to set the pace and provide better value to golfers using smart, data-driven tools. A tool that operational staff can use to have full oversight of the field, providing golfers with accurate, objective support, ultimately adding value and ensuring an exceptional on-course experience.

A consistently well-managed pace of play automatically translates into happier golfers, and opens up space to add capacity and immediately address the issue of declining rounds played. Research has shown that on-course golfer enjoyment boosts loyalty to your course and converts into substantial post-round food and beverage revenue opportunity.

As golf cart gps management software, such as Tagmarshal, is increasingly playing a prominent role in how modern-day operations are run, golf courses have an opportunity to not only boost participation levels, but also to maximize revenue.

Any golfer who sets foot onto the course should be seen as a potential repeat customer, and every effort needs to be made to win their loyalty. By adopting golf management software, courses can better align their offering with the expectation of the golfer. Achieving consistency on this front will always result in a more satisfied customer, more likely to return and ultimately a better bottom line for the course.


Tagmarshal, the market leader in on-course optimization technology, provides courses with full, real-time operational oversight and reporting, giving golf operators the tools to manage pace and flow of play effectively, resulting in enhanced player experiences, increased efficiency through automation, and additional revenue generation.

Tagmarshal’s technology has collected over 1 billion data points from more than 50 million rounds of golf and has relationships with in excess of 500 partners, including Hazeltine, Whistling Straits, Baltusrol, Fieldstone, Bandon Dunes, Serenoa and Erin Hills.

Tagmarshal partners with several golf management groups, private, daily fee, public and resort courses, including 35 of the Top 100 US courses, as well as many $30-$50 green fee courses, which are seeing excellent results using the system.